Efforts by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to fight crime are bearing fruit in some sectors.
The 2015/16 crime statistics that the Police Ministry released in Parliament recently showed a decrease in crimes committed in the country.
The statistics for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 cover various categories of crime.
Serious crime reported to the police decreased by 1.4 percent, but contact crimes remain a problem.
“We are registering progress. We are beginning to see a decreasing trend. The only problem is contact crimes,” said Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.
In total 2.1 million charges were reported to the police in 2015/16.
About 1.7 million cases (or 83 percent) of these were reported by members of the public, with the rest having been detected by police activity.
Of the 1.7 million community-based reported crimes, about 65.9 percent are a result of contact and property-related crimes. Contact crimes, which include crimes against a person, constituted the most charges reported by communities, at 35.2 percent.
This was followed by property-related crimes at 30.7 percent and other serious crimes at 27 percent.
Provincially, crime levels in Limpopo and Mpumalanga increased, while levels all other provinces decreased. The Northern Cape remained stable.
Categories of crime
The statistics also show that the murder rate is now 34 per 100 000, up from 33 last year. For the reporting period, 18 673 murders were recorded nationally, up from 17 805 in 2014/15.
Police said Northern Cape is the only province that has recorded a decrease in the number of murders.
Countrywide, attempted murder increased by 3.4 percent in 2015/16, with 18 127 cases reported.
- Sexual offences decreased by 3.2 percent with 51 895 cases reported.
- Robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 2.7 percent to 132 527 cases
- Common assault went up 2.2 percent to 164 958 cases but robbery of residences decreased by 2.7 percent
- Robbery of non-residential properties increased by 2.8 percent
- Car hijackings increased by 4.3 percent but truck hijackings fell by 7.4 percent
- Arson decreased by 4.4 percent
- Malicious damage to property decreased by 0.6 percent to 119 901 cases in the current financial year
- Commercial crimes increased by 3.1 percent while shoplifting decreased by 3.6 percent to 68 786 cases.
Minister Nhleko said many of the crimes were connected to the social challenges faced by South Africans as well as drug use and alcohol consumption.
“As society as a whole, we need to put up quite an effort to deal with the social foundation of contact crime,” he said.